12.20.2008

Intuitive Know

A bit of an exploration on "Knowing" on Jesus Creed.

"Knowing II" also.

12.05.2008

A Reasonable Faith?

CNN Reports -- "An atheist sign criticizing Christianity that was erected alongside a Nativity scene was taken from the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington, Friday and later found in a ditch."

Some excerpts to note and then my thoughts to follow...



"I thought it would be safe," Freedom From Religion Foundation co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor told CNN. "It's always a shock when your sign is censored or stolen or mutilated. It's not something you get used to."

"The incident will not stifle the group's message, Gaylor said, adding that a temporary sign with the same message would be placed in the building's Rotunda. Gaylor said a note would be attached saying, "Thou shalt not steal." "

"I guess they don't follow their own commandments," Gaylor said. "There's nothing out there with the atheist point of view, and now there is such a firestorm that we have the audacity to exist. And then [whoever took the sign] stifles our speech."

"Dan Barker, a former evangelical preacher and co-founder of the group, said it was important for atheists to see their viewpoints validated alongside everyone else's.

Barker said the display is especially important given that 25 percent of Washington state residents are unaffiliated with religion or do not believe in God. (A recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found 23 percent of Washingtonians said they were unaffiliated with a religion and 7 percent said they didn't believe in God.)

"It's not that we are trying to coerce anyone; in a way our sign is a signal of protest," Barker said. "If there can be a Nativity scene saying that we are all going to hell if we don't bow down to Jesus, we should be at the table to share our views."

He said if anything, it's the Nativity scene that is the intrusion.

"Most people think December is for Christians and view our signs as an intrusion, when actually it's the other way around," he said. "People have been celebrating the winter solstice long before Christmas. We see Christianity as the intruder, trying to steal the holiday from all of us humans." "


Here are my thoughts on this...

I agree that this sign should never of have been taken, stolen. I am not even going to address the anti-Christ attitude of would-be followers of Christ. Stealing is wrong. Period. "Everyone knows" this right? The celebrating atheists here know this, and they are calling the thief or thieves out on the matter...in ole King James, "thou shalt not steal!"

Obviously I am not an atheist. I am a theist. A mono-theist. My belief in the God revealed through Israel and to Gentiles through the person of Christ and the text of scripture informs my moral sensibilities. My sense of right and wrong is affirmed and confirmed by the fact that I am a created being after the image of a God whose being is the source of all that is just and right.

However, as an atheist where is the ground or justification for complaining or even raising your voice and crying, "This is unjust!"? Does the atheist even have a 'reason' to do so? Yes, the atheist can say that our sense of morality is
simply social and cultural conventions and sentiments. And to some degree this is true.

But if this is all it is, then lets follow this logic even more to it's inevitable outcome. If we are creatures that simply are informed by our culture and also create our culture (Which I affirm and do not deny. But I must add that who we are is not limited to simply this phenomena alone. As I said before there are transcendental and fixed realities about our reality - created.) then at any given point I will assert myself and "do what I will"

Since there is no God there is no standard of morality and all social conventions however extended in time and established they are via governments and political constitutions I am justified to toss your sign into the ditch or toilet, tear down your nativity scene, rape your sons and daughters and steal from you and jack your economy up. Any complaining is worthless really. Whose to say goes but the mob? Only the strong survive, right? Until then I will do as I want and it really doesn't matter till you can stop it. You will either have to kill me or detain me in prison. But it really doesn't matter because there is no essence to reality or meaning to life. There is nothing but bare bones and brute facts.

Where does this all end up going for humanity?

"I guess they don't follow their commandments...," One individual in the report states. What does this mean? Can an atheist even really be saying this? You have no commandment except "the cannons of reason" which you simply want to celebrate besides a nativity scene. You have no warrant for your morality as an atheist. The atheistic appeal to tolerance and saying that the hardening of hearts and the enslavement of minds is nothing but the manifestation of a "commandment" that an atheist follows and affirms. Where's your warrant for this? And the atheist assumes that they follow their ethical and moral moorings to a 't'?

I must add that no one is always consistent with their moral convictions. Any honest and self aware follower of Christ will testify to living functionally-atheistic at times. Our lives will manifest still our 'will to power' and control. The Genesis narrative of the serpent and the demise of humanity with Adam and Eve, points to what is essentially at the heart of man is to want to "be as god's knowing good and evil". We all simply want to assert ourselves at the expense of others. Control Control Control....my belly is my god.

This atheistic faith is 'unreasonable' and irrational-rationality. "May reason prevail".......then let us be honest and recognize the inevitability of the narcissism and nihilism that this essentially gives birth too, or should I say is birthed from? No faith has all the answers to all questions for sure. But the atheistic premise cannot even provide a justification for justification except for the appeal to mob consensus and the will to power under the "do as I will" self-deification.

We will not become complete and total nihilists in the strictest sense of the word. If we're honest with ourselves we cannot help from being moral beings...although we are still very messed up, distorted and inconsistent. We will always affirm morality.

Granting the atheistic premise removes morality as an absolute fixture. An atheist wants the cake and eat it also. The atheist throws a baby out with the bath-water.

We all have a fixed judicial sentiment. Period. Atheists cannot make 'reasonable' sense of this. This judicial sentiment only confirms that we are made after the image of God.

What are your thoughts....anyone.

The God I don't Understand

Jesuscreed recently began this thread, "Hard Questions for the Bible"

The topic of discussion comes from Christopher Wright's new book, "The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith"

What is great about this discussion is the specific topic that it is initially engaging. The Old Testaments account of Israel and the conquest of Canaan. This is a portion of the biblical text that has always disturbed me the most. I have never given myself the opportunity to reflect and think through this account. I have read Lee Strobel's chapter on this issue in his book "The Case for Faith" so I appreciated that Wright was hitting this. I think Wright provides a fresh and engaging study on theological issues in a hermeneutically humble way.

I too agree with McKight and Wright that

"there is a palpable dissatisfaction with our mind's capacity to grasp the magnitude of sin, of God's control of history, and of how God's redemptive work is accomplished."


There never are easy answers.

11.23.2008

Typical Phenomena

Pause Music player below in order to view video.

11.20.2008

An Irreducible Inevitability

"...it's not a liability of a particular belief system to have unanswered questions. That's not a reflection on the problem of Christianity -- if Christianity has unanswered questions, and I think it does. It doesn't have as many as many people think, but there are some things that I struggle with and I've talked about that here on the air. But you know that doesn't sink my faith. The fact that I struggle with problems in Christianity is not necessarily a reflection on Christianity, it's a reflection on knowledge in general." Read More

11.18.2008

A Conspiracy of Silence? - Is the Bible Ever Wrong?

Jesus Creed writes -

"...how should Christian colleges prepare college students, especially science students, for the intellectual challenges that will surely come in graduate study and the professional world? This pastor reflected that one of his sons came home after his first term at seminary and asked why his dad had never told him, never talked about, the issues and questions he was learning at school. The answer of course, was that there are some things that a pastor simply cannot talk about in church, he dare not raise the question much less provide scholarly answers.

I contend that this conspiracy of silence does as much, perhaps more, damage than good.

First: brushing the problems, "the blue parakeet texts," under the rug means that evangelicalism cannot develop a robust and defensible view of scripture.

Second: the lumps under the rug are not really hidden. We simply all agree to pretend that we cannot see them. The OT becomes a book we avoid rather than a heritage we embrace. For 20 years I found it difficult to read the OT except in carefully selected verse sized fragments - because it simply is not what it is supposed to be. A fact that is painfully obvious, even to an educated layperson.

Third: the science, the historical study, the textual criticism, none of this is going away - ever. We have to deal with it honestly.

Fourth: it becomes a stumbling block that contributes to loss of faith for many and prevents many more from ever even considering the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So I have two questions for pastors and others in ministry:

Is there a "conspiracy of silence," and if so is it a pastoral necessity? How should we deal with these issues in our churches?

and

How would you deal with an educated layperson with very real and very deep questions about the nature of the Bible?
" Read the full post

11.10.2008

Conn on the Danger of an Acultural Propositionalization of Revelation

a time to tear down | A Time to Build Up had this posted...

"Have we propositionalized revelation into an acultural vacuum? Can our confidence in the “bearing along” work of the Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) lift the Bible up, over, and around human cultures without ever going through those cultures? What do we mean by anthropomorphism in revelation? Is this theological category ultimately a missional method of God himself? There is always the danger that the gospel truth will be lost in cultures….At the same time, is there not also the danger that cultures will be lost in the gospel truth? (Eternal Word & Changing Worlds, p. 215)"

really think about this.

9.18.2008

moves toward undoing textual 'violence'

A blog I frequent, by Art Boulet has this very note worthy post entitled, "philistia and philosophical presuppositions." He writes...

"...the biblical narrative is only authentic, only trustworthy, only worthy to be called “the Word of God,” if it lives up to a certain idea of historicity that is embedded within our modern psyche. I’m not quite convinced, as you probably already know, that such a posture is necessarily a positive one."

If you are in tune with contemporary scholarship and the historical, textual and theological insights or controversies brought forth then give this post a read.

7.23.2008

Cuz I dumb

One of the things that we at Outreach, Inc. focus on in our service to homeless and at-risk youth is education. Not having an education is the single greatest barrier in obtaining gainful employment and arriving at self-sufficiency. Because of this we provide GED pre-testing for our clients at our home base. For those who cannot go to high school for whatever reason getting a GED is the next and most important thing to obtaining.

I have looked at the GED pre-test. While some of it I could knock out quick and "Ace" the other parts like math, science, reading, social studies, writing...."wait, isn't that just about all of them?", I would clearly suck at.

I "graduated" high school in 1996. Besides the "university of life" I have not been to another school since. Recently I have been provoked to engage my telos-scopic trajectory by going back to school and pursue a degree. And of course in order to do this I must subject myself to an entrance or placement exam which will assess where I am academically and where I need to be in order to move along on this venture.

As I look at the GED and some of the requirements for entrance at a school I realize I gots some work to do. And just when I thought I was stupid some smart-ass went and put together 2 Million Minutes. By the way this documentary filmmaker gets mad props for putting this piece together. Watch the trailer below for this documentary.

Cuz I dumb. And in the words of Michaela "so is my mom."

Documentary Questions Quality Of Indiana, American Education
Indianapolis Father Behind Controversial New Look At Education Around The Globe



As usual pause the music player below to hear the video

6.10.2008

Press

When does the breaking point come? When is it enough? To the eyes of others it may appear that all is well. But we all have limited perception. There is much that is hidden from our ears, eyes and intuition. Only a few know what is going on below the surface. Perhaps others see and have noticed a slow mutation of countenance, tone or ability to withstand adversity. The 'perceived' catalysts to these trying circumstances can be myriad. They can be personified. They can stem from one source. They can come from a lie or deception. But it's not so easy to diagnose. "Brokeness" is always a factor. That's a given. But the factors that precipitate one event or circumstance to another could be the fault of one and the many. His sin is an injury to all. Her righteous deed is the blessing of all. Her omission is to the detriment of many. His willingness to bend and flex is for good of the whole.

There is a tipping point. There is a time when you come to an end. There is a time when exhaustion has arrived and the thinning out of wits takes center stage. And this Act can be a very long one. Bearing to much of a load? Are there too many responsibilities or duties under charge that all cannot be done? Very possible. This may be the case. Some duties are greater than others. There are urgencies. There are sacrifices that must be made. Circumstances and events are a calling forth, a summoning to something or toward a new state of being. This is devolution and evolution, regression and progression, falling and rising...death and resurrection.

It doesn't look the same for everyone.

6.07.2008

:: THINK

One of my great interests is observing and thinking through what we know and how we know, what we believe and how it is that we believe. This categorical inquiry is called Epistemology: The study of how we know or the theory of knowledge. I am persuaded that the categorical distinctions between philosophy, religion and science are essentially one and the same. The categories may not be explicitly identical (depends on who you ask...semantics!) but at the least these categories dialectically inform one another in such a way that they are identical or so necessary to the other that one cannot "stand" without the other. (Arguably this may be an over-simplification or reductionistic view but I believe it has a high semblance to the truth.)

I also believe that reason is an innate faculty in the human being that is at the service of such categories: philosophy, religion, science. Because of this I am persuaded that the dichotomy between faith and reason that is widely popular in western culture is false. You and I begin to reason or begin our reasoning from what we trust or believe or have faith in.

Our beliefs are constantly developing for varying reasons of which influence is generated from emotional and physiological aspects to social environments: class, race and politics. Our beliefs are always being shaped, modified or even entirely transformed. I find this a very fascinating phenomenon.

The community of faith in which I interpret reality through persuades me to see everything as spiritual. It also informs me to recognize that life is a derivative or creation from a personal God. I believe that this God revealed himself to the ancient communities that wrote the scriptures known as the Bible which now serve to personally shape my identity and how I know. I believe this happens as I inhabit this ancient community of faith.

I say this all as a "qualifier" of where I come from and where I think from. And with that I would like to introduce a few new links to my blog under "Places". The links are marked by ":: THINK". I have introduced these to my blog so that a wider engagement with different and/or "opposing" beliefs would be 'plugged' for others with like minded interests. I hope it serves you well.

With that said, I must now say that I am really looking forward to read an upcoming book titled "Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity".

While it is not new for someone who was a Christian to become an Atheist or to espouse another belief I believe frequent exposure to the narratives of people's lives such as these serve me and I imagine you well by encouraging good reflections upon your beliefs and so provoke positive development.

Shalom

6.05.2008

The Authority of Scripture is a Function of Its Divine Origin, not Its Cultural Expression, Although the Bible that the Spirit Has Given the Church is

...a Thoroughly Encultured Product."

For those interested in the work of Peter Enns and perhaps are aware of the 'controversy' surrounding his book, "Inspiration & Incarnation" you may find this post worthy reading. This post is one of a series that will be continually posted on Peter's blog: a time to tear down|A Time to Build Up

Click on the above post title to read said article.

5.10.2008

According to Jung I am an....

Extroverted (E) 56.41% Introverted (I) 43.59%
Sensing (S) 53.85% Intuitive (N) 46.15%
Thinking (T) 56.41% Feeling (F) 43.59%
Perceiving (P) 53.49% Judging (J) 46.51%

ESTP - "Promotor". Action! When present, things begin to happen. Fiercely competitive. Entrepreneur. Often uses shock effect to get attention. Negotiator par excellence. 4.3% of total population.

If you want to take this "short test" or a similar one click here for similar minds.

5.01.2008

Keller on Jesus Creed (Updated)

Scot McKnights Jesuscreed.org has begun hosting a convhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifersation on Tim Kellers book, The Reason for God.

Folks you have got to read this great thread. This is some of the best engagement in contemporary apologetics.Our Reasonable Faith 2

4.04.2008

Ortho-doxy-praxis

A blogger that I frequent and admire whom also attends Westminster Theological Seminary in Penn where all of the current controversy is, recently posted a very, very apropos quote by Peter Enns that is cited from the very work which is "the source" of the controversy. Please do read and be enriched by wonderful words that convey the marks of true scholarship in the image of Christ.

"The problem is that true Christians erect a wall of hostility between them, and churches, and denominations, and schools split.
It has been my experience that sometimes our first impulse is to react to new ideas and vilify the person holding them, not considering that person’s Christian character. We jump to conclusions and assume the worst rather than hearing—really hearing—each other out."
Click Here to read more.

4.01.2008

3.31.2008

theologia reformata semper reformanda (revised)

"Is conservative evangelicalism’s emphasis on doctrinal content? And is its emphasis an overemphasis?"

Scot McKnight is working through Roger Olson's Reformed and Always Reforming. His discussion on the book has just started on Chapter 2 and the above question is a pointed mark on one of the things that Olson is getting at. Are conservative evangelicals, “too obsessed with the cognitive and intellectual sides of the gospel and of Christian existence”? If these are valid questions, then what is the response? I think the question is accurate in it's asking. It alone conveys or indicates the suspicion of a general ethos of the 'conservative evangelical'. Mind you I say, "general".

Recent scholarly works reflecting on Theology and "it's nature, task and purpose" have been echoing the same voice. The significance of these current reflections with the continued growth of the church is not to be understated by theologians across the board. Recent developments at Westminster Theological Seminary concerning the recent work of Peter Enns, "Inspiration & Incarnation" and it's relationship to the Reformed churches famous theological construct namely the Westminster Confession of Faith, are all connected with the current discussions by John Franke, Roger Olson and many others.

I do not want to overly hype or sensationalize the situation with WTS and these 'theological' considerations. I have a hope and suspect this hope to be more realized in our generation that humility in our theology will be a greater possession by the leaders of institutions and churches. I think there is in our time...patiently waiting a new precedent to be established. I hope this precedent will begin to stir loudly at WTS. And it will if certain voices in the WTS community will emerge and become outspoken to the need of humility in our theological scholarship.

A new precedent awaits.

3.25.2008

Belief in an Age of Skepticism

On March 4,2008 Tim Keller spoke at Berkeley University of California on this topic. A good Q & A followed the lecture. Good stuff.

Thanks to Art for the link.



Keller also spoke at Google's, Mountain View, CA headquarters on March 5, 2008. Click Here for the video.

2.29.2008

Amuzing or Interesting

Jesuscreed has a Hermeneutics Quiz/Conversation going.

According to my results I scored a 57, which is between 53 & 65 meaning I'm a moderate on The Hermeneutics Scale.

What are you?

The greatest difficult I had on this quiz was with the last question regarding the Sabbath. The options are limited in my opinion.

2.21.2008

I can watch this over and over and over....

Scroll down the page to pause the music player in order to enjoy this video.





Life is very beautiful.

2.19.2008

Castro resigns


CNN wire:: "I will not aspire to, nor will I accept the position of president of the council of state and commander in chief," Castro wrote. "I wish only to fight as a soldier of ideas. ... Perhaps my voice will be heard."

President Bush said Castro's decision ought to spark "a democratic transition" for Cuba.

"The international community should work with the Cuban people to begin to build institutions that are necessary for democracy and eventually this transition ought to lead to free and fair elections," Bush said Tuesday in Rwanda. "The United States will help the people of Cuba realize the blessings of liberty."

I am not sure what to think of this at this point. It is my hope and prayer for Cuba and my family there that life will become better for them and that US relations with Cuba will develop in a positive manner.

Where is who at?



Jesuscreed has this interesting 'mapping' conversation going on where some folks theological persuasions/exhibitions lie. Interesting. For what it's worth check it out. I didn't know that Tony Jones would be considered 'Emergent'. And Driscoll is interestingly placed between Evangelicalism and Emerging...I can see this, I guess.

However, general this chart is, I think it serves to give all in the Christian community at least a reminder that there is a difference from 'emerging' and 'Emergent'.

At least you can be humored for a Tuesday.

Peace.

2.13.2008

The Smart Shepherd


"A New York pastor who says he thinks too much wants to bring his Christian message to the world."

Newsweek Article

2.08.2008

An eagerly expected June release




"Christians believe that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ uniquely revealed the one true God to humanity. In bearing witness to this revelation through their ministry and life together, they profess a common faith. Yet if Christians are indeed part of one body of Christ, how do we account theologically for the multiple expressions of that common faith? If God is ultimate truth, why is it so difficult to agree on issues related to truth? Must we sacrifice a commitment to truth in favor of a practical unity in the church? Or must we hold on to our perception of the truth of God even at the expense of fracturing and dividing the church?

John Franke says that the dilemma of truth versus unity is a false dichotomy. He argues instead that orthodox and biblical Christian faith is inherently and irreducibly pluralist, and that this diversity, far from being a problem that needs to be overcome, is in fact a blessing from God and part of the divine design and intention for the church. Faith in the Lordship of Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit to guide the church, and in the God witnessed to by scripture allows Christians to affirm ultimate truth. But the recognition that no one fully knows God, or knows the truth as God knows it, means that they must be humble regarding their own grasp of truth. Thus, the multiplicity of Christian expressions represents the attempt of finite creatures to represent an infinite God. The plurality of the expressions of truth in the Christian church witnesses to the expansiveness of the truth of God."

1.26.2008

Sun Kil Moon

Their new album titled "April", will be released on no other than April 1st.

I cannot express the deep seated calm adulation and anticipation I have for this long awaited work.

This link will take you to a page with an audio sampling from April.